Let’s be honest. Most people don’t even know what an educational consultant is, nor do they know if and when they need one. But those who have had positive experiences with one will be our best referral sources when they tell their friends and family that our work changed the life of their child. That’s what we strive for, and in fact, live for. We want to help influence your child’s life in a positive way and set them on a new trajectory.
In order to do this, it’s our job to not only be experts in child and adolescent development, but also education. We need to always be learning and sharing new information with our professional peers, and thus we create important, meaningful and lasting relationships with one another. Conferences, with different themes and audiences, are events we look forward to. We come together, not only for the professional development, but also for the chance to reconnect with our colleagues who have in many cases, also become our friends. Those who are invested in working with children and adolescents, many of whom are in crisis, are some of the most inspiring and dedicated people in the world.
So why do educational consultants travel so much? Educational consultants need to be constantly learning about new colleges, boarding schools, therapeutic programs, and even specialized psychiatric inpatient programs. And that means hitting the road.
The last few weeks have been busy with travel for both Michelle and me. In January, Michelle went to Oregon to visit nine therapeutic programs, from those serving students as young as 11 years to those serving young adults. She also spent the night in the wilderness while visiting a program so that she can tell parents and students, “Been there, done that, too.” Meanwhile, I jumped a plane to Boston to visit four schools and programs in three days, covering six states and one thousand miles. Why? Because I needed to check in on a student, and explore three new schools that I had in mind to recommend to several students with whom we are working. Mission accomplished…I returned with a clear sense of which schools would work and which ones would not. Earlier this week I flew to Tennessee to visit three universities and six more highly specialized boarding schools, traveling on back roads and highways from Nashville to Chattanooga.
Wednesday night I met up again in Nashville with Michelle to attend the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs conference. Michelle was selected with a friend and graduate school classmate, Dana Reder, to present to her professional peers a session called, “Thinking Like a School Psychologist: Unpacking Assessments.” The room was packed with fellow educational consultants, therapists, and academic directors of therapeutic schools, and based on feedback; the session was very well received. We attended other inspiring and informative sessions from some of the nation’s best experts on therapeutic interventions that got our own ideas flowing. Meanwhile there were lunches and dinners with people in our profession whom we wanted to know better and others with whom we were eager to reconnect. Every minute, from early morning to late at night, was filled with meaningful interaction, even during departure at the airport where we ran into more friends and colleagues.
So now we are on our way home again and will buckle down and dig out of our email inboxes. But we know more than we did last week…and less than we will know next week. We are inspired, motivated, enthused, and exhausted. Was it worth it? Absolutely. This is why we love what we do, and why our students and families are ultimately better served when we leave the office and hit the road. This is why educational consultants travel so much!
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